Featured on Food Network's Diners, Drive-ins and Dives and named Best American Cuisine in Charlotte by CBS Charlotte, The Penguin Drive-In has been satiating stomachs since 1954 with a menu that starts with hand-dipped, lightly battered Famous Penguin fried pickles ($3.99). Diners can dig into the Sweet Caroline, a vinegar-based pulled-pork barbecue sandwich topped with slaw ($5.99), or quell hunger with the Penguin burger ($5.49), featuring pimento cheese and fried pickles resting atop a beef patty island. For dessert, the funnel cake fries ($3.99) give customers a little taste of the carnival without the inconvenience of having to eat it in the dining room of distorted mirrors.
Omega Coney Island of North Carolina transplants traditional Detroit-style hot dogs and deli fare to their southern location and serves the Americana for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Chefs crack eggs and whip them into protein-rich omelets, breakfast platters, and sandwiches, decorating the yellow, yolk-laden canvas with gentle brush strokes of sausage links and arabesque bacon strips. Detroit-style Coney Island dogs arrive at tables dressed with multifarious fixings, such as chili, ground beef, onions, and mustard, and burgers made from 1/3-pound Angus-beef patties create an edible measuring device for converting dollars into British currency. Rich reubens and patty melts also vie for table space, and cake and pie change their appearance and sports team affiliations each day.
New South Diner has compiled a hospitable menu of classic Southern cuisine with contemporary twists. Start a romantic date on the right foot by carving your date’s initials into a selection of cured meats, sausages, and pimento cheese with the Carving Board ($8), or confidently compare your physique to that of the beefsteak-tomato salad ($6), which tosses together buttercrunch lettuce with blue cheese, smoky bacon, red onion, cucumber, and buttermilk bleu dressing. Fish fans can savor tastes of shrimp and grits ($17), which pairs the briny delicacies with pan-friend corn, ham crisps, and moppin’ sauce, and pork lovers can take advantage of the pig's natural tendency to overindulge with beer-braised pork, served with turnip greens, pintos, scallions, and chowchow, a Southern pickle relish ($16). Lunch and Brunch is also available.
Though Twin City Diner opened in 1988, the turquoise booths, wood-paneled walls, and black-and-white photos displayed throughout its dining room lend the eatery a refined, contemporary-American feel. The diner’s chefs delight in updating traditional southern comfort dishes with modern touches—from BLT sandwiches layered with fried green tomatoes to burgers slathered in chili, cheese, and slaw.
Patrons can chow down within the sleek confines of the dining room, or they can mosey outside to the patio. In both areas, Twin City Diner maintains a comfortable family atmosphere.